Mopping up summer wines

golden palms.jpgAs summer dissolves into the hottest week of the season, the wine menu starts to get just a little sketchy. As if the sky was whispering “dude – you’ve lost your focus” any and everything seems to show up on the table. At the back end of a strong streak that began with clear focus (Moscati, Ros√© and Beaujolais) and inspired adventure (the Riesling tasting) we are closing up shop on a wailing summer with a potpourri of ennitingoze; a grab bag of inspired picks, accidental finds, and other strenj items.
One very inspired pick is Venice’s new wine store – El Vino Wines – on Abbot Kinney. The glaring omission of this quintessential artsy neighborhood has been the absence of an equally inspired wine retailer. Until now.
Bart and Caroline Miali are two wine geeks who opened their concept of a timely (e.g., tons of U20 wines), and well considered wine store (just about every wine tBoW likes including Rieslings imported by Bill Mayer). tBoW loves wine geeks. How can you tell a wine geek? One surefire way is if he tries to sell you a red wine from Austria, like a Zweigelt. Wine geeks are legendary in the collective tBoW memory.
Dotor√© and tBoW were blindsided long ago by Terry the paunchy postman and Burgundy geek/fiend at a holiday tasting. He poured tastes from two bottles of Cros Parantoux; one made by the uncle Henri Jayer and the other by his nephew Emmanuel Rouget. Like we could tell. As he carefully explained the differences in winemaking styles for these heavy hitters of French Pinot Noir production from these extremely rare bottles we came under his spell. When we asked what was the cost to purchase he looked at us like somebody farted. With sweat beading on his upper lip he answered “oh it’s not a question of price….but availability.”
Like a vampire bit us. In case we never thanked Terry let me now say God Bless You Terry and can we have some more. [ed. in defense of the early stage burg fiend nimrods D & t, suffice it to say this experience would be like getting introduced to baseball by watching the 1927 Yankees.]
If you find yourself riding along Abbot Kinney and want to check out a really nice store then stop at El Vino and let Bart sell you a splendid Austrian red…reviewed below.
milagrochard07.gif2008 Milagro Farm Chardonnay $15: A small winery in Temecula’s Romona Valley run by Jim Hart, son of the Hart Family Winery pioneer Joe. Aged in Hungarian oak with 30% going through malolactic fermentation. The wine is fruity and crisp. Fresh flavors showing ripe fruit and minerals. Being snobby, we seldom expect much from the region – Hart wines being the exception to that bias – so this is a nice surprise and an excellent U20 value. 14.1%
chemndespapes07.jpg2007 Chemin des Papes Cotes du Rhone $13: Creamy nose, deep red color. Mild and easy to slurp U20. Soft tannins. Nothing fancy but at this U20 price… 13.3%
poggio07.jpeg2005 Poggio Belevedere Arneho-Caprai Umbria $18: Acidic, slightly high strung 80% Sangiovese and 20% Ciliegiolo. Fruity with cola and spice. No oak. Nice wine and if you are Tuscan fan a great U20 value. xx%
sori paitin2.jpg1997 Sori Paitin Barbaresco $70: From the tBoW cellar from a heralded vintage. Dirty nose but not corked. Dark fruit flavors. MIddle weight. All in all kind of mediocre. Did not open any further. Now that we have tasted several Sori Paitin wines I gotta tell ya..ennhhh. 13%
spaetrot07.jpg2007 Spaetrot Gebeshuber $17: Straight off the El VIno shelf with the highest recommendation. Not just anyone can talk me into buying another Austrian red. But here we are tasting a Gebeshuber from the Thermen region. This is like a softer peppery Syrah. It is delicious and fits nicely with the hot summer evening chowing down on duck and chicken. Do check out the website as it is quite informative. They bottle a Pinot Noir and I think they blend it! COOL. Now I have to return to El Vino to get some more. Next time maybe Bart may has the Reserve? I am already thinking turkey dinner. 13%

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